Could the East provide the boost that UK real estate needs right now?

Could the East provide the boost that UK real estate needs right now?

In light of the challenging market conditions in recent months, many corporate agencies are having to let go of their staff or close their premises. Difficult times make any possibilities of transactions look bleak. However, there is still some movement in the real estate market, for those who are actively involved. Leaving the portal worries and barriers aside, the property market remains attractive for overseas buyers. The primary driver for this has been the weaker Sterling which has been further emphasized with the arrival of the COVID crisis in the UK. This favourable shift in currency combined with attractive funding costs and mortgages available at rates as low as 0.8%1, it’s no wonder that there is an opportunity.

With China on the road to recovery and accounting for less than a tenth of worldwide coronavirus infections and barely any of the new daily cases, life is starting to return to somewhat of a normal. Businesses are gradually getting back to work; Small and medium-sized enterprises nationwide had resumed work at a rate of 76.8% (as of March 292). 

The UK has always been a global target for Chinese buyers, with London being the top destination for Asian outbound capital in 2018, according to CBRE in last year’s report. The fact that Chinese buyers in the UK rose from 2.5% in 2016 to 20%3 in 2019, is a good illustration of this trend. As long-term investors, Chinese buyers are attracted to the UK based on strong fundamentals of the British economy, a well-developed judicial system as well as globally ranking educational institutions amongst other factors. With this outlook in mind, these buyers are less sensitive to any short-term economic or political uncertainty that may arise. Instead, this proves to be an opportunity to secure real estate in areas with strong growth potential.  Again, to illustrate, in 2018, 18% of total outbound investment targeted London, which was increase from 13% in 2017. 

With limited activity in the Asian markets over the last 3 months, they’ve had a lot of time to interest shop, with certain schemes seeing up to a 50 to 60%4 increase in East and West London.  With overseas purchases looking attractive at the current depressed levels, the only barrier is how do you get access to this international demand? XChange by houzen is a prop-tech that emerged to help break those international barriers way before COVID-19 emerged. For the past 3 years, they have been partnering with Independent Agencies to open their horizons and portfolios to international demand. In 2019 alone, 60% of all successful transactions were from international applicants from China. Most of which viewed the property through WeChat or Virtual tours and made the decision all before even landing in the UK.

Megan, XChange’s China Market Lead who works mainly with Chinese applicants based in Chine and in the UK. She says “There’s still a high demand for property viewings, however, we switched in 70% of cases to virtual viewings, by video call and WeChat. Most of the applicants don’t have a problem viewing a property this way and are comfortable making their decision just based on that. In terms of how many people might actually arrive in the UK later in the year, I see a potential for a spike in the number of international students moving to the UK.” Megan adds: “Some universities lowered their required grades for Chinese applicants, so if the situation with coronavirus gets better soon, we might see an even higher number of incoming students later on”

We also spoke to Credo, a leading Chinese relocation agent and asked their views on the outlook of the real estate market. 

“Although we were indeed concerned about Covid-19’s impact on Chinese students and young professional going abroad, once April to May rolled around, it gave us lots of confidence that the demand is still there and even stronger – as for them it’s about international education and a long-term life goal instead of this temporary lockdown situation.

“With positive feedback from our local channels that the number of Chinese who applied for, or have received offers from UK universities has exceeded the same time over the last few years, we believe the renting demand will start to rally later this summer. If the market is so active this year during pandemic time, we could not be more optimistic about the demand from China in the future.”

With the ongoing restrictions on the market, XChange is opening its doors to bigger agencies to support the market during this time. By providing the means to easily connect with the Asian market, there is room for the business to be done. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Could the East provide the boost that UK real estate needs right now?

Xchange by houzen

In light of the challenging market conditions in recent months, many corporate agencies are having to let go of their staff or close their premises. Difficult times make any possibilities of transactions look bleak. However, there is still some movement in the real estate market, for those who are actively involved. Leaving the portal worries and barriers aside, the property market remains attractive for overseas buyers. The primary driver for this has been the weaker Sterling which has been further emphasized with the arrival of the COVID crisis in the UK. This favourable shift in currency combined with attractive funding costs and mortgages available at rates as low as 0.8%1, it’s no wonder that there is an opportunity.

With China on the road to recovery and accounting for less than a tenth of worldwide coronavirus infections and barely any of the new daily cases, life is starting to return to somewhat of a normal. Businesses are gradually getting back to work; Small and medium-sized enterprises nationwide had resumed work at a rate of 76.8% (as of March 292). 

The UK has always been a global target for Chinese buyers, with London being the top destination for Asian outbound capital in 2018, according to CBRE in last year’s report. The fact that Chinese buyers in the UK rose from 2.5% in 2016 to 20%3 in 2019, is a good illustration of this trend. As long-term investors, Chinese buyers are attracted to the UK based on strong fundamentals of the British economy, a well-developed judicial system as well as globally ranking educational institutions amongst other factors. With this outlook in mind, these buyers are less sensitive to any short-term economic or political uncertainty that may arise. Instead, this proves to be an opportunity to secure real estate in areas with strong growth potential.  Again, to illustrate, in 2018, 18% of total outbound investment targeted London, which was increase from 13% in 2017. 

With limited activity in the Asian markets over the last 3 months, they’ve had a lot of time to interest shop, with certain schemes seeing up to a 50 to 60%4 increase in East and West London.  With overseas purchases looking attractive at the current depressed levels, the only barrier is how do you get access to this international demand? XChange by houzen is a prop-tech that emerged to help break those international barriers way before COVID-19 emerged. For the past 3 years, they have been partnering with Independent Agencies to open their horizons and portfolios to international demand. In 2019 alone, 60% of all successful transactions were from international applicants from China. Most of which viewed the property through WeChat or Virtual tours and made the decision all before even landing in the UK.

Megan, XChange’s China Market Lead who works mainly with Chinese applicants based in Chine and in the UK. She says “There’s still a high demand for property viewings, however, we switched in 70% of cases to virtual viewings, by video call and WeChat. Most of the applicants don’t have a problem viewing a property this way and are comfortable making their decision just based on that. In terms of how many people might actually arrive in the UK later in the year, I see a potential for a spike in the number of international students moving to the UK.” Megan adds: “Some universities lowered their required grades for Chinese applicants, so if the situation with coronavirus gets better soon, we might see an even higher number of incoming students later on”

We also spoke to Credo, a leading Chinese relocation agent and asked their views on the outlook of the real estate market. 

“Although we were indeed concerned about Covid-19’s impact on Chinese students and young professional going abroad, once April to May rolled around, it gave us lots of confidence that the demand is still there and even stronger – as for them it’s about international education and a long-term life goal instead of this temporary lockdown situation.

“With positive feedback from our local channels that the number of Chinese who applied for, or have received offers from UK universities has exceeded the same time over the last few years, we believe the renting demand will start to rally later this summer. If the market is so active this year during pandemic time, we could not be more optimistic about the demand from China in the future.”

With the ongoing restrictions on the market, XChange is opening its doors to bigger agencies to support the market during this time. By providing the means to easily connect with the Asian market, there is room for the business to be done. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »
using whatsapp on a cellphone

6 WhatsApp hacks every agent should be using now!

Xchange by houzen

Gone are the days where email is the only way to get in touch with your applicants. Infact, more and more of our agent partners are using WhatsApp almost daily to keep in touch with their applicants. With many even closing deals directly through the app itself. With 80% saying that they used WhatsApp at some point in the customer journey.

We reached out to our partner agents and asked to share their whatsapp hacks with us – here is what they said.

Simply download WhatsApp for Business (on your phone or desktop) and begin! 

1) Weed out the time wasters

  • Use WhatsApp for Business as a way to qualify incoming applicants to the most suitable negotiators
  • This also offers the company a chance to make sure the inquiry is directed to your most suitable negotiator. Customers can send a message and go about their day while waiting for a response, the inquiry can be properly assigned without the customer being redirected to a variety of different extensions or waiting impatiently on hold. It’s a win-win. 

2) Speed – faster replies make for happier customers

  • When customers use messaging apps personally, we’re writing and receiving answers all day, every day. When they communicate with a company on this channel, especially about a problem, they’re naturally expecting a fast response.
  • Using WhatsApp for business automated responses ensures that an applicant enquiry is answered within 24 hour 

3) Keep it all connected

  • Make sure you connect your WhatsApp Api to Hubspot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive. 
  • This ensures that you’re able to continue nurturing the lead throughout their customer journey. 

4) Be friendly and creative

  • Be casual. 95% of companies use a casual tone with or without emojis. This makes you more approachable. Agencies can win trust by putting formality to the side and engaging with your customers in a more authentic way.
  • All types of media can be used. This is a really good way to share images and videos of the properties that your applicant is inquiring about. 

5) Your virtual notebook

  •  Use WhatsApp as your own personal notebook. Simply create a group with yourself and someone else, remove them, and voila, you have your own private group. You have your own channel for whatever text or images you need to have available ad hoc. You can then easily access these things to share with your customers directly. 

6) Automate it

  • 80% of inquiries are repeated. Setting up a WhatsApp chatbot would make it easier to deal with these. If the case becomes too complex an agent can easily take over.
  • Virtual Customer Assistants (or Chatbots) can help, saving employee time and company resource
    • Here’s a few you can check out
    • AgentBot – Its multiple AI technologies allow for unstructured interactions and can interpret informal language, errors, regionalisms, emojis and voice messages for natural communication.
    •  Botscrew – designing your conversation flow is text-based, but equally intuitive and easy to use.

So there you have it folks! It’s that easy. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Twitter


Instagram

Read More »

The growth of PRS in London has altered tenant demographics. Who’s moving in? and why?

Xchange by houzen

Times when the PRS tenants were picking rental merely as a way to wait until they’re ready to take a mortgage are long gone. The renting lifestyle has become a conscious choice for many – and these people have specific wants and needs. If your property fulfils them, you might get yourself a fantastic, well-paid tenant for many years, not just for your usual 12 months.

Demand for the private rented sector: 
The proportion of households in the PRS sector is said to rise to 22% by 2023. Previously, young professionals (25 – 34) made up the largest proportion of renters, this has now been taken over (though marginally) by 35-49 years old. This age group is expected to show the biggest growth in this sector over the upcoming years as obtaining a mortgage is becoming harder and harder. Home buying still remains a hurdle for many individuals.  This correlates with the rise in the professional-managed PRS units. Currently, there are around 30,000 units already completed with a supply pipeline of around 110,092 under construction or in planning. With buy-to-let landlords leaving the market and fewer mortgages being taken out, this is necessary to meet the increasing demand for rental apartments.  Different kinds of renters:  The key to closing more deals is to better understand who you’re selling to. “When you work in agencies, you see every day how important the agents are, that people still want to deal with people and that it’s people who make things happen,” says Jaimie Beers, Managing Director of Madley Property Services in London. More and more individuals living in the UK are living in a rental property and this is expected to continue increasing for the next 3 years. It is important to understand what kind of tenants you’re working with to better understand how to cater to their needs. According to a survey, the biggest proportion of tenants in the private rental sector at the moment are aged between 35 – 49. With homeownership becoming more and more difficult this age group is likely to grow. This age group is closely followed by young professionals aged between 25 – 34.  The survey has found these different tenant groups in these age groups:  

 In London, Sharers makeup 27% of the rental market, followed closely by the nesters at 23%. With over 55% of the applicants surveyed stating that they are renting because they do not have the deposit for a mortgage.  So what are these renters looking for and how can you target them?  Tenants want: 

  1. Affordable housing 
  2. Homes that are within 5 miles of their current residence 
  3. Homes that are within a 30-40 minute commute from work 

 Targeting these tenants requires the following: 

  • Finding properties that match their requirements (location and price-wise)
  • Internal amenities are very important for this age group
  • Being close to transport links is also important 

 Key Driver for Remaining in Rented Property 

  • Affordability
  • Lack of mortgage deposits

 Affordability is the biggest deciding factor A survey was conducted and tenants were asked what was ONE of the most important factors when choosing a property. 

  • 61% stated that the rent is within their budget 
    • This is why it’s important to understand your applicant’s affordability range and ensure that you don’t show them properties that are over their budget. 
    • Next, is finding properties that fit the applicant’s requirements within that budget – XChange has a solution for that. 
  • 23% stated that the location of the property was the most important
    • Living close to transport links and work is also important for individual renters.
  • 10% stated the size of the property was the most important. 

 Other factors when choosing a location to live in?   So how can you use this: One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your applicants is to simply listen to them, by listening to them you’ll understand how they work and be better suited to find them a property that they will close on. Remember, it’s all about building a strong relationship with the applicant. Keeping this in mind, XChange has a solution to help you make this process more efficient.  At XChange our tech solution recommends properties for your applicants that match their requirements.  Our applicant matching solution works to find you more properties for applicants that are sitting in your CRM, or vice versa. By inputting your applicant’s requirements we can match them to properties listed on XChange. We’ve created a centralised platform where you can do all of this in one go.  We partner with Independent Agents and growing agencies because we believe that compared to the bigger corporations, you have the ability to close deals faster and provide the leads with better customer service than premium corporate agencies can provide. Want to get started and see if your Agency qualifies, contact us through the form below and we’ll give you a call.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »

Property Trader

  • Superfast growth curve
  • Uncapped commission on deals closed
  • Mentorship and Lean 6 Sigma Training provided
  • International team representing 10+ countries

We are looking for sales champions to join our team  ASAP!

The ambition: We have rewritten the rules of lettings in London already, and are already pitching for global accounts in Ireland and Germany. In 2020, we aspire to expand to new cities across UK and Asia. You can be a part of it!

Our customers: are some of the largest landlords in London (who own 500-1000 or more units) and small and mid size letting agencies (we also have a cool product for tenants, with exclusive deals from Uber, Revolut etc.) 

Our pitch (to landlords): We find tenants within 5 days! 

Our vision (for 2020): To find tenants within 24 hours!

Your potential tasks:

  • Connecting with property agents to move their applicants or properties
  • Fiding the “perfect match” and completing transaction in 48 hours
  • Face to face meetings with clients, gathering feedback
  • Coming up with new ideas for property sales
  • Activating clients and making sure they stay active on the platform

…and much more!

Our Sales Champion role take part in houzen’s growth program, which lets you learn and even lead your own team after just a couple of months! We don’t make you to do admin tasks – here you will be equipped with hands-on business experience, and your ideas could be included in the company’s business plan.

First 3 months: learning stage – talk to everyone, participate in all the activities in the company and even do some mystery shopping/competitor checks!

4-8 months: steady stage – become a specialist and mentor juniors

Finally: growth stage – lead a team and become a shareholder!

Your attitude:

  • Customer-focused
  • Team-focused 
  • You work towards finding solutions, not problems
  • Keen to get in the field and really understand your customer
  • You go the extra mile to delight your customers
  • You’ll never give up!
  • You’d like to change the way business is done currently

UNCAPPED BONUS/Revenue Share (Take home up to 10-25% of all revenues generated). This could easily result in a bonus of GBP 400-3000 per month. 

Fast career progression to leadership: Opportunity to be a part of changing an entire industry. Fast promotions (our first employee went from intern to leader and shareholder in two years).

Lean Sigma training and certification: All employees receive LSS training and certification

Please note, we can’t currently provide visas, so we can only offer this opportunity for those with the right to work in the UK. You need to be able to work from home during current lockdown (own laptop, good internet connection etc.).

Apply using the form below:


Sales Leader (estate agency/developers)

*please apply using the form at the bottom of this page

Houzen is building a global stock exchange for residential real estate. The company values strong leadership, however the real differentiator would be someone who can roll up their sleeves and get stuff done. Think of the role as a 90:10 split between execution: strategy, or strategising in evening, and implementing during the day! We’re ideally looking for someone with strong SME sales background.  

The role:

  • direct responsibilities would be to lead a specific area of London and a small team (2-3 people)
  • you would be seen as a future leader from day one.
  • main tasks: leading and influencing property agents, getting them to sign up on our platform, view properties available and book viewings, then making sure the users are actually performing later on
  • hands-on: phone calls and in-person meetings would ideally take most of your time
  • whenever you’re not with a customer or in contact with customer, you’re probably wasting your time

About you:

  • 2-4 years of sales experience
  • some managerial experience
  • familiar with SME sales market
  • generalist mindset, you should have a flexible mind as your role is expected to keep strengthening as the company expects unprecedented growth over next 12-24 months.
  • You must have in the past led teams or situations as a person, professional or a sports person
  • Undying ‘‘won’t give up at any cost’’ attitude and has an ‘‘eternally optimist’’’ view on life
  • Respects the ‘‘Customer is King’’ philosophy
  • Loves learning new concepts and solving problems, and won’t leave the drawing (and more importantly execution ground) board till the problem is solved
  • Is excited about rewriting the rules of a $220tn asset class
  • Wants to potentially build a business themselves in future.  

Our culture:

  • Everyone is expected to go to any length to understand the customer inside out and genuinely work towards finding solutions for their needs, and then go the extra mile each time to delight them.
  • Every team member is very inclusive and collaborative (and a bit unreasonably crazy!).
  • Houzen strongly believes that only strong and determined teams build strong businesses, and hence each new team member should be aligned to our philosophy and work ethic.

Offer:

30-48K GBP (based on experience) + profit share (linked to revenue generation). In year 1 itself, opportunity to take home 60k+ or more (base + profit share)

Apply using the form below:

6 WhatsApp hacks every agent should be using now!

using whatsapp on a cellphone

6 WhatsApp hacks every agent should be using now!

Gone are the days where email is the only way to get in touch with your applicants. Infact, more and more of our agent partners are using WhatsApp almost daily to keep in touch with their applicants. With many even closing deals directly through the app itself. With 80% saying that they used WhatsApp at some point in the customer journey.

We reached out to our partner agents and asked to share their whatsapp hacks with us – here is what they said.

Simply download WhatsApp for Business (on your phone or desktop) and begin! 

1) Weed out the time wasters

  • Use WhatsApp for Business as a way to qualify incoming applicants to the most suitable negotiators
  • This also offers the company a chance to make sure the inquiry is directed to your most suitable negotiator. Customers can send a message and go about their day while waiting for a response, the inquiry can be properly assigned without the customer being redirected to a variety of different extensions or waiting impatiently on hold. It’s a win-win. 

2) Speed – faster replies make for happier customers

  • When customers use messaging apps personally, we’re writing and receiving answers all day, every day. When they communicate with a company on this channel, especially about a problem, they’re naturally expecting a fast response.
  • Using WhatsApp for business automated responses ensures that an applicant enquiry is answered within 24 hour 

3) Keep it all connected

  • Make sure you connect your WhatsApp Api to Hubspot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive. 
  • This ensures that you’re able to continue nurturing the lead throughout their customer journey. 

4) Be friendly and creative

  • Be casual. 95% of companies use a casual tone with or without emojis. This makes you more approachable. Agencies can win trust by putting formality to the side and engaging with your customers in a more authentic way.
  • All types of media can be used. This is a really good way to share images and videos of the properties that your applicant is inquiring about. 

5) Your virtual notebook

  •  Use WhatsApp as your own personal notebook. Simply create a group with yourself and someone else, remove them, and voila, you have your own private group. You have your own channel for whatever text or images you need to have available ad hoc. You can then easily access these things to share with your customers directly. 

6) Automate it

  • 80% of inquiries are repeated. Setting up a WhatsApp chatbot would make it easier to deal with these. If the case becomes too complex an agent can easily take over.
  • Virtual Customer Assistants (or Chatbots) can help, saving employee time and company resource
    • Here’s a few you can check out
    • AgentBot – Its multiple AI technologies allow for unstructured interactions and can interpret informal language, errors, regionalisms, emojis and voice messages for natural communication.
    •  Botscrew – designing your conversation flow is text-based, but equally intuitive and easy to use.

So there you have it folks! It’s that easy. 


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Could the East provide the boost that UK real estate needs right now?

Xchange by houzen

In light of the challenging market conditions in recent months, many corporate agencies are having to let go of their staff or close their premises. Difficult times make any possibilities of transactions look bleak. However, there is still some movement in the real estate market, for those who are actively involved. Leaving the portal worries and barriers aside, the property market remains attractive for overseas buyers. The primary driver for this has been the weaker Sterling which has been further emphasized with the arrival of the COVID crisis in the UK. This favourable shift in currency combined with attractive funding costs and mortgages available at rates as low as 0.8%1, it’s no wonder that there is an opportunity.

With China on the road to recovery and accounting for less than a tenth of worldwide coronavirus infections and barely any of the new daily cases, life is starting to return to somewhat of a normal. Businesses are gradually getting back to work; Small and medium-sized enterprises nationwide had resumed work at a rate of 76.8% (as of March 292). 

The UK has always been a global target for Chinese buyers, with London being the top destination for Asian outbound capital in 2018, according to CBRE in last year’s report. The fact that Chinese buyers in the UK rose from 2.5% in 2016 to 20%3 in 2019, is a good illustration of this trend. As long-term investors, Chinese buyers are attracted to the UK based on strong fundamentals of the British economy, a well-developed judicial system as well as globally ranking educational institutions amongst other factors. With this outlook in mind, these buyers are less sensitive to any short-term economic or political uncertainty that may arise. Instead, this proves to be an opportunity to secure real estate in areas with strong growth potential.  Again, to illustrate, in 2018, 18% of total outbound investment targeted London, which was increase from 13% in 2017. 

With limited activity in the Asian markets over the last 3 months, they’ve had a lot of time to interest shop, with certain schemes seeing up to a 50 to 60%4 increase in East and West London.  With overseas purchases looking attractive at the current depressed levels, the only barrier is how do you get access to this international demand? XChange by houzen is a prop-tech that emerged to help break those international barriers way before COVID-19 emerged. For the past 3 years, they have been partnering with Independent Agencies to open their horizons and portfolios to international demand. In 2019 alone, 60% of all successful transactions were from international applicants from China. Most of which viewed the property through WeChat or Virtual tours and made the decision all before even landing in the UK.

Megan, XChange’s China Market Lead who works mainly with Chinese applicants based in Chine and in the UK. She says “There’s still a high demand for property viewings, however, we switched in 70% of cases to virtual viewings, by video call and WeChat. Most of the applicants don’t have a problem viewing a property this way and are comfortable making their decision just based on that. In terms of how many people might actually arrive in the UK later in the year, I see a potential for a spike in the number of international students moving to the UK.” Megan adds: “Some universities lowered their required grades for Chinese applicants, so if the situation with coronavirus gets better soon, we might see an even higher number of incoming students later on”

We also spoke to Credo, a leading Chinese relocation agent and asked their views on the outlook of the real estate market. 

“Although we were indeed concerned about Covid-19’s impact on Chinese students and young professional going abroad, once April to May rolled around, it gave us lots of confidence that the demand is still there and even stronger – as for them it’s about international education and a long-term life goal instead of this temporary lockdown situation.

“With positive feedback from our local channels that the number of Chinese who applied for, or have received offers from UK universities has exceeded the same time over the last few years, we believe the renting demand will start to rally later this summer. If the market is so active this year during pandemic time, we could not be more optimistic about the demand from China in the future.”

With the ongoing restrictions on the market, XChange is opening its doors to bigger agencies to support the market during this time. By providing the means to easily connect with the Asian market, there is room for the business to be done. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »
using whatsapp on a cellphone

6 WhatsApp hacks every agent should be using now!

Xchange by houzen

Gone are the days where email is the only way to get in touch with your applicants. Infact, more and more of our agent partners are using WhatsApp almost daily to keep in touch with their applicants. With many even closing deals directly through the app itself. With 80% saying that they used WhatsApp at some point in the customer journey.

We reached out to our partner agents and asked to share their whatsapp hacks with us – here is what they said.

Simply download WhatsApp for Business (on your phone or desktop) and begin! 

1) Weed out the time wasters

  • Use WhatsApp for Business as a way to qualify incoming applicants to the most suitable negotiators
  • This also offers the company a chance to make sure the inquiry is directed to your most suitable negotiator. Customers can send a message and go about their day while waiting for a response, the inquiry can be properly assigned without the customer being redirected to a variety of different extensions or waiting impatiently on hold. It’s a win-win. 

2) Speed – faster replies make for happier customers

  • When customers use messaging apps personally, we’re writing and receiving answers all day, every day. When they communicate with a company on this channel, especially about a problem, they’re naturally expecting a fast response.
  • Using WhatsApp for business automated responses ensures that an applicant enquiry is answered within 24 hour 

3) Keep it all connected

  • Make sure you connect your WhatsApp Api to Hubspot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive. 
  • This ensures that you’re able to continue nurturing the lead throughout their customer journey. 

4) Be friendly and creative

  • Be casual. 95% of companies use a casual tone with or without emojis. This makes you more approachable. Agencies can win trust by putting formality to the side and engaging with your customers in a more authentic way.
  • All types of media can be used. This is a really good way to share images and videos of the properties that your applicant is inquiring about. 

5) Your virtual notebook

  •  Use WhatsApp as your own personal notebook. Simply create a group with yourself and someone else, remove them, and voila, you have your own private group. You have your own channel for whatever text or images you need to have available ad hoc. You can then easily access these things to share with your customers directly. 

6) Automate it

  • 80% of inquiries are repeated. Setting up a WhatsApp chatbot would make it easier to deal with these. If the case becomes too complex an agent can easily take over.
  • Virtual Customer Assistants (or Chatbots) can help, saving employee time and company resource
    • Here’s a few you can check out
    • AgentBot – Its multiple AI technologies allow for unstructured interactions and can interpret informal language, errors, regionalisms, emojis and voice messages for natural communication.
    •  Botscrew – designing your conversation flow is text-based, but equally intuitive and easy to use.

So there you have it folks! It’s that easy. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Twitter


Instagram

Read More »

The growth of PRS in London has altered tenant demographics. Who’s moving in? and why?

Xchange by houzen

Times when the PRS tenants were picking rental merely as a way to wait until they’re ready to take a mortgage are long gone. The renting lifestyle has become a conscious choice for many – and these people have specific wants and needs. If your property fulfils them, you might get yourself a fantastic, well-paid tenant for many years, not just for your usual 12 months.

Demand for the private rented sector: 
The proportion of households in the PRS sector is said to rise to 22% by 2023. Previously, young professionals (25 – 34) made up the largest proportion of renters, this has now been taken over (though marginally) by 35-49 years old. This age group is expected to show the biggest growth in this sector over the upcoming years as obtaining a mortgage is becoming harder and harder. Home buying still remains a hurdle for many individuals.  This correlates with the rise in the professional-managed PRS units. Currently, there are around 30,000 units already completed with a supply pipeline of around 110,092 under construction or in planning. With buy-to-let landlords leaving the market and fewer mortgages being taken out, this is necessary to meet the increasing demand for rental apartments.  Different kinds of renters:  The key to closing more deals is to better understand who you’re selling to. “When you work in agencies, you see every day how important the agents are, that people still want to deal with people and that it’s people who make things happen,” says Jaimie Beers, Managing Director of Madley Property Services in London. More and more individuals living in the UK are living in a rental property and this is expected to continue increasing for the next 3 years. It is important to understand what kind of tenants you’re working with to better understand how to cater to their needs. According to a survey, the biggest proportion of tenants in the private rental sector at the moment are aged between 35 – 49. With homeownership becoming more and more difficult this age group is likely to grow. This age group is closely followed by young professionals aged between 25 – 34.  The survey has found these different tenant groups in these age groups:  

 In London, Sharers makeup 27% of the rental market, followed closely by the nesters at 23%. With over 55% of the applicants surveyed stating that they are renting because they do not have the deposit for a mortgage.  So what are these renters looking for and how can you target them?  Tenants want: 

  1. Affordable housing 
  2. Homes that are within 5 miles of their current residence 
  3. Homes that are within a 30-40 minute commute from work 

 Targeting these tenants requires the following: 

  • Finding properties that match their requirements (location and price-wise)
  • Internal amenities are very important for this age group
  • Being close to transport links is also important 

 Key Driver for Remaining in Rented Property 

  • Affordability
  • Lack of mortgage deposits

 Affordability is the biggest deciding factor A survey was conducted and tenants were asked what was ONE of the most important factors when choosing a property. 

  • 61% stated that the rent is within their budget 
    • This is why it’s important to understand your applicant’s affordability range and ensure that you don’t show them properties that are over their budget. 
    • Next, is finding properties that fit the applicant’s requirements within that budget – XChange has a solution for that. 
  • 23% stated that the location of the property was the most important
    • Living close to transport links and work is also important for individual renters.
  • 10% stated the size of the property was the most important. 

 Other factors when choosing a location to live in?   So how can you use this: One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your applicants is to simply listen to them, by listening to them you’ll understand how they work and be better suited to find them a property that they will close on. Remember, it’s all about building a strong relationship with the applicant. Keeping this in mind, XChange has a solution to help you make this process more efficient.  At XChange our tech solution recommends properties for your applicants that match their requirements.  Our applicant matching solution works to find you more properties for applicants that are sitting in your CRM, or vice versa. By inputting your applicant’s requirements we can match them to properties listed on XChange. We’ve created a centralised platform where you can do all of this in one go.  We partner with Independent Agents and growing agencies because we believe that compared to the bigger corporations, you have the ability to close deals faster and provide the leads with better customer service than premium corporate agencies can provide. Want to get started and see if your Agency qualifies, contact us through the form below and we’ll give you a call.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »

The growth of PRS in London has altered tenant demographics. Who’s moving in? and why?

The growth of PRS in London has altered tenant demographics. Who’s moving in? and why?

Times when the PRS tenants were picking rental merely as a way to wait until they’re ready to take a mortgage are long gone. The renting lifestyle has become a conscious choice for many – and these people have specific wants and needs. If your property fulfils them, you might get yourself a fantastic, well-paid tenant for many years, not just for your usual 12 months.

Demand for the private rented sector: 
The proportion of households in the PRS sector is said to rise to 22% by 2023. Previously, young professionals (25 – 34) made up the largest proportion of renters, this has now been taken over (though marginally) by 35-49 years old. This age group is expected to show the biggest growth in this sector over the upcoming years as obtaining a mortgage is becoming harder and harder. Home buying still remains a hurdle for many individuals. 
 
This correlates with the rise in the professional-managed PRS units. Currently, there are around 30,000 units already completed with a supply pipeline of around 110,092 under construction or in planning. With buy-to-let landlords leaving the market and fewer mortgages being taken out, this is necessary to meet the increasing demand for rental apartments. 
 
Different kinds of renters: 
 
The key to closing more deals is to better understand who you’re selling to. “When you work in agencies, you see every day how important the agents are, that people still want to deal with people and that it’s people who make things happen,” says Jaimie Beers, Managing Director of Madley Property Services in London.
 
More and more individuals living in the UK are living in a rental property and this is expected to continue increasing for the next 3 years. It is important to understand what kind of tenants you’re working with to better understand how to cater to their needs.
 
According to a survey, the biggest proportion of tenants in the private rental sector at the moment are aged between 35 – 49. With homeownership becoming more and more difficult this age group is likely to grow. This age group is closely followed by young professionals aged between 25 – 34. 
 
The survey has found these different tenant groups in these age groups: 
 

 
In London, Sharers makeup 27% of the rental market, followed closely by the nesters at 23%. With over 55% of the applicants surveyed stating that they are renting because they do not have the deposit for a mortgage. 
 
So what are these renters looking for and how can you target them? 
 
Tenants want: 
  1. Affordable housing 
  2. Homes that are within 5 miles of their current residence 
  3. Homes that are within a 30-40 minute commute from work 
 
Targeting these tenants requires the following: 
  • Finding properties that match their requirements (location and price-wise)
  • Internal amenities are very important for this age group
  • Being close to transport links is also important 
 
Key Driver for Remaining in Rented Property 
  • Affordability
  • Lack of mortgage deposits
 
Affordability is the biggest deciding factor
 
A survey was conducted and tenants were asked what was ONE of the most important factors when choosing a property. 
  • 61% stated that the rent is within their budget 
    • This is why it’s important to understand your applicant’s affordability range and ensure that you don’t show them properties that are over their budget. 
    • Next, is finding properties that fit the applicant’s requirements within that budget – XChange has a solution for that. 
  • 23% stated that the location of the property was the most important
    • Living close to transport links and work is also important for individual renters.
  • 10% stated the size of the property was the most important. 
 
Other factors when choosing a location to live in? 
 
 
So how can you use this:
 
One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your applicants is to simply listen to them, by listening to them you’ll understand how they work and be better suited to find them a property that they will close on. Remember, it’s all about building a strong relationship with the applicant. Keeping this in mind, XChange has a solution to help you make this process more efficient. 
 
At XChange our tech solution recommends properties for your applicants that match their requirements. 
 
Our applicant matching solution works to find you more properties for applicants that are sitting in your CRM, or vice versa. By inputting your applicant’s requirements we can match them to properties listed on XChange. We’ve created a centralised platform where you can do all of this in one go. 
 
We partner with Independent Agents and growing agencies because we believe that compared to the bigger corporations, you have the ability to close deals faster and provide the leads with better customer service than premium corporate agencies can provide.
 
Want to get started and see if your Agency qualifies, contact us through the form below and we’ll give you a call.
 
 
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Could the East provide the boost that UK real estate needs right now?

Xchange by houzen

In light of the challenging market conditions in recent months, many corporate agencies are having to let go of their staff or close their premises. Difficult times make any possibilities of transactions look bleak. However, there is still some movement in the real estate market, for those who are actively involved. Leaving the portal worries and barriers aside, the property market remains attractive for overseas buyers. The primary driver for this has been the weaker Sterling which has been further emphasized with the arrival of the COVID crisis in the UK. This favourable shift in currency combined with attractive funding costs and mortgages available at rates as low as 0.8%1, it’s no wonder that there is an opportunity.

With China on the road to recovery and accounting for less than a tenth of worldwide coronavirus infections and barely any of the new daily cases, life is starting to return to somewhat of a normal. Businesses are gradually getting back to work; Small and medium-sized enterprises nationwide had resumed work at a rate of 76.8% (as of March 292). 

The UK has always been a global target for Chinese buyers, with London being the top destination for Asian outbound capital in 2018, according to CBRE in last year’s report. The fact that Chinese buyers in the UK rose from 2.5% in 2016 to 20%3 in 2019, is a good illustration of this trend. As long-term investors, Chinese buyers are attracted to the UK based on strong fundamentals of the British economy, a well-developed judicial system as well as globally ranking educational institutions amongst other factors. With this outlook in mind, these buyers are less sensitive to any short-term economic or political uncertainty that may arise. Instead, this proves to be an opportunity to secure real estate in areas with strong growth potential.  Again, to illustrate, in 2018, 18% of total outbound investment targeted London, which was increase from 13% in 2017. 

With limited activity in the Asian markets over the last 3 months, they’ve had a lot of time to interest shop, with certain schemes seeing up to a 50 to 60%4 increase in East and West London.  With overseas purchases looking attractive at the current depressed levels, the only barrier is how do you get access to this international demand? XChange by houzen is a prop-tech that emerged to help break those international barriers way before COVID-19 emerged. For the past 3 years, they have been partnering with Independent Agencies to open their horizons and portfolios to international demand. In 2019 alone, 60% of all successful transactions were from international applicants from China. Most of which viewed the property through WeChat or Virtual tours and made the decision all before even landing in the UK.

Megan, XChange’s China Market Lead who works mainly with Chinese applicants based in Chine and in the UK. She says “There’s still a high demand for property viewings, however, we switched in 70% of cases to virtual viewings, by video call and WeChat. Most of the applicants don’t have a problem viewing a property this way and are comfortable making their decision just based on that. In terms of how many people might actually arrive in the UK later in the year, I see a potential for a spike in the number of international students moving to the UK.” Megan adds: “Some universities lowered their required grades for Chinese applicants, so if the situation with coronavirus gets better soon, we might see an even higher number of incoming students later on”

We also spoke to Credo, a leading Chinese relocation agent and asked their views on the outlook of the real estate market. 

“Although we were indeed concerned about Covid-19’s impact on Chinese students and young professional going abroad, once April to May rolled around, it gave us lots of confidence that the demand is still there and even stronger – as for them it’s about international education and a long-term life goal instead of this temporary lockdown situation.

“With positive feedback from our local channels that the number of Chinese who applied for, or have received offers from UK universities has exceeded the same time over the last few years, we believe the renting demand will start to rally later this summer. If the market is so active this year during pandemic time, we could not be more optimistic about the demand from China in the future.”

With the ongoing restrictions on the market, XChange is opening its doors to bigger agencies to support the market during this time. By providing the means to easily connect with the Asian market, there is room for the business to be done. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »
using whatsapp on a cellphone

6 WhatsApp hacks every agent should be using now!

Xchange by houzen

Gone are the days where email is the only way to get in touch with your applicants. Infact, more and more of our agent partners are using WhatsApp almost daily to keep in touch with their applicants. With many even closing deals directly through the app itself. With 80% saying that they used WhatsApp at some point in the customer journey.

We reached out to our partner agents and asked to share their whatsapp hacks with us – here is what they said.

Simply download WhatsApp for Business (on your phone or desktop) and begin! 

1) Weed out the time wasters

  • Use WhatsApp for Business as a way to qualify incoming applicants to the most suitable negotiators
  • This also offers the company a chance to make sure the inquiry is directed to your most suitable negotiator. Customers can send a message and go about their day while waiting for a response, the inquiry can be properly assigned without the customer being redirected to a variety of different extensions or waiting impatiently on hold. It’s a win-win. 

2) Speed – faster replies make for happier customers

  • When customers use messaging apps personally, we’re writing and receiving answers all day, every day. When they communicate with a company on this channel, especially about a problem, they’re naturally expecting a fast response.
  • Using WhatsApp for business automated responses ensures that an applicant enquiry is answered within 24 hour 

3) Keep it all connected

  • Make sure you connect your WhatsApp Api to Hubspot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive. 
  • This ensures that you’re able to continue nurturing the lead throughout their customer journey. 

4) Be friendly and creative

  • Be casual. 95% of companies use a casual tone with or without emojis. This makes you more approachable. Agencies can win trust by putting formality to the side and engaging with your customers in a more authentic way.
  • All types of media can be used. This is a really good way to share images and videos of the properties that your applicant is inquiring about. 

5) Your virtual notebook

  •  Use WhatsApp as your own personal notebook. Simply create a group with yourself and someone else, remove them, and voila, you have your own private group. You have your own channel for whatever text or images you need to have available ad hoc. You can then easily access these things to share with your customers directly. 

6) Automate it

  • 80% of inquiries are repeated. Setting up a WhatsApp chatbot would make it easier to deal with these. If the case becomes too complex an agent can easily take over.
  • Virtual Customer Assistants (or Chatbots) can help, saving employee time and company resource
    • Here’s a few you can check out
    • AgentBot – Its multiple AI technologies allow for unstructured interactions and can interpret informal language, errors, regionalisms, emojis and voice messages for natural communication.
    •  Botscrew – designing your conversation flow is text-based, but equally intuitive and easy to use.

So there you have it folks! It’s that easy. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Twitter


Instagram

Read More »

The growth of PRS in London has altered tenant demographics. Who’s moving in? and why?

Xchange by houzen

Times when the PRS tenants were picking rental merely as a way to wait until they’re ready to take a mortgage are long gone. The renting lifestyle has become a conscious choice for many – and these people have specific wants and needs. If your property fulfils them, you might get yourself a fantastic, well-paid tenant for many years, not just for your usual 12 months.

Demand for the private rented sector: 
The proportion of households in the PRS sector is said to rise to 22% by 2023. Previously, young professionals (25 – 34) made up the largest proportion of renters, this has now been taken over (though marginally) by 35-49 years old. This age group is expected to show the biggest growth in this sector over the upcoming years as obtaining a mortgage is becoming harder and harder. Home buying still remains a hurdle for many individuals.  This correlates with the rise in the professional-managed PRS units. Currently, there are around 30,000 units already completed with a supply pipeline of around 110,092 under construction or in planning. With buy-to-let landlords leaving the market and fewer mortgages being taken out, this is necessary to meet the increasing demand for rental apartments.  Different kinds of renters:  The key to closing more deals is to better understand who you’re selling to. “When you work in agencies, you see every day how important the agents are, that people still want to deal with people and that it’s people who make things happen,” says Jaimie Beers, Managing Director of Madley Property Services in London. More and more individuals living in the UK are living in a rental property and this is expected to continue increasing for the next 3 years. It is important to understand what kind of tenants you’re working with to better understand how to cater to their needs. According to a survey, the biggest proportion of tenants in the private rental sector at the moment are aged between 35 – 49. With homeownership becoming more and more difficult this age group is likely to grow. This age group is closely followed by young professionals aged between 25 – 34.  The survey has found these different tenant groups in these age groups:  

 In London, Sharers makeup 27% of the rental market, followed closely by the nesters at 23%. With over 55% of the applicants surveyed stating that they are renting because they do not have the deposit for a mortgage.  So what are these renters looking for and how can you target them?  Tenants want: 

  1. Affordable housing 
  2. Homes that are within 5 miles of their current residence 
  3. Homes that are within a 30-40 minute commute from work 

 Targeting these tenants requires the following: 

  • Finding properties that match their requirements (location and price-wise)
  • Internal amenities are very important for this age group
  • Being close to transport links is also important 

 Key Driver for Remaining in Rented Property 

  • Affordability
  • Lack of mortgage deposits

 Affordability is the biggest deciding factor A survey was conducted and tenants were asked what was ONE of the most important factors when choosing a property. 

  • 61% stated that the rent is within their budget 
    • This is why it’s important to understand your applicant’s affordability range and ensure that you don’t show them properties that are over their budget. 
    • Next, is finding properties that fit the applicant’s requirements within that budget – XChange has a solution for that. 
  • 23% stated that the location of the property was the most important
    • Living close to transport links and work is also important for individual renters.
  • 10% stated the size of the property was the most important. 

 Other factors when choosing a location to live in?   So how can you use this: One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your applicants is to simply listen to them, by listening to them you’ll understand how they work and be better suited to find them a property that they will close on. Remember, it’s all about building a strong relationship with the applicant. Keeping this in mind, XChange has a solution to help you make this process more efficient.  At XChange our tech solution recommends properties for your applicants that match their requirements.  Our applicant matching solution works to find you more properties for applicants that are sitting in your CRM, or vice versa. By inputting your applicant’s requirements we can match them to properties listed on XChange. We’ve created a centralised platform where you can do all of this in one go.  We partner with Independent Agents and growing agencies because we believe that compared to the bigger corporations, you have the ability to close deals faster and provide the leads with better customer service than premium corporate agencies can provide. Want to get started and see if your Agency qualifies, contact us through the form below and we’ll give you a call.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »

Is London’s PRS focus in 2020 shifting to the East?

East London | Canary Wharf

Is London’s PRS focus in 2020 shifting to the East?

With the rise in demand for rental properties, one wonders how is London going to meet the incoming demand for rental properties? Reports show that the Private Rental Sector is expected to grow by 22% till 2023. The development of Canary Wharf 30 years ago served as the catalyst of completely changing the East End. Tower Hamlets represents the borough that has has seen the most change, making it London’s fastest growing borough. More than 500 new tall buildings are in the pipeline across Greater London, with half to be created in East London. With the soon to be created Crossrail, the East End will be even better connected to the West.
 
 Canary Wharf. 1992 (Left). 2017 (Right).[/caption]
 
Who’s moving to East London?

Young professionals and couples (aged between 25 – 49) are amongst the biggest group of renters in London. This borough is made up of a diverse group of international migrants, with the census showing that 43% of the residents were born outside of Britain. This group of renters is made up of the following:
These individuals are looking for properties that are:
  1. Affordable
  2. Close to their work
A recent survey by Zoopla shows that a quarter of customers don’t use online portals when conducting their property search. Instead they rely on the other channels. One of which is receiving property updates from agents that match the criteria of properties that they are looking for. Though the use of portals is still very important for Agents to market their properties, it is just as important to develop your email marketing campaigns as well as develop your social media channels.
 
What should you look forward to in East London?
 
With the wide spread regeneration in East London, there are many new developments that are catering to the renting population. Providing more than just a home but rather a lifestyle. Here are a few developments to keep your eye on:

A BTR development consisting of 294 apartments and provides residents with luxury amenities without being in Central London.

975 homes and retail space just a stones throw from Canning Town Station.

A 65 acre space that combines living with nature.

High-end rental properties providing close links to the city. 

Not working on these properties yet?
 
To get instructed on some of these properties, click here
 
At XChange we partner with Independent Agents with an aim to empower them and to help them grow their businesses in an environment that is slowly becoming crowded by the bigger corporate agents. We believe Independent Agents have the power to close deals faster and provide the best level of service for Applicants. By helping agents access properties that they would not normally be instructed on we want to provide an avenue for these agents to perform and grow their business. 
 
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Could the East provide the boost that UK real estate needs right now?

Xchange by houzen

In light of the challenging market conditions in recent months, many corporate agencies are having to let go of their staff or close their premises. Difficult times make any possibilities of transactions look bleak. However, there is still some movement in the real estate market, for those who are actively involved. Leaving the portal worries and barriers aside, the property market remains attractive for overseas buyers. The primary driver for this has been the weaker Sterling which has been further emphasized with the arrival of the COVID crisis in the UK. This favourable shift in currency combined with attractive funding costs and mortgages available at rates as low as 0.8%1, it’s no wonder that there is an opportunity.

With China on the road to recovery and accounting for less than a tenth of worldwide coronavirus infections and barely any of the new daily cases, life is starting to return to somewhat of a normal. Businesses are gradually getting back to work; Small and medium-sized enterprises nationwide had resumed work at a rate of 76.8% (as of March 292). 

The UK has always been a global target for Chinese buyers, with London being the top destination for Asian outbound capital in 2018, according to CBRE in last year’s report. The fact that Chinese buyers in the UK rose from 2.5% in 2016 to 20%3 in 2019, is a good illustration of this trend. As long-term investors, Chinese buyers are attracted to the UK based on strong fundamentals of the British economy, a well-developed judicial system as well as globally ranking educational institutions amongst other factors. With this outlook in mind, these buyers are less sensitive to any short-term economic or political uncertainty that may arise. Instead, this proves to be an opportunity to secure real estate in areas with strong growth potential.  Again, to illustrate, in 2018, 18% of total outbound investment targeted London, which was increase from 13% in 2017. 

With limited activity in the Asian markets over the last 3 months, they’ve had a lot of time to interest shop, with certain schemes seeing up to a 50 to 60%4 increase in East and West London.  With overseas purchases looking attractive at the current depressed levels, the only barrier is how do you get access to this international demand? XChange by houzen is a prop-tech that emerged to help break those international barriers way before COVID-19 emerged. For the past 3 years, they have been partnering with Independent Agencies to open their horizons and portfolios to international demand. In 2019 alone, 60% of all successful transactions were from international applicants from China. Most of which viewed the property through WeChat or Virtual tours and made the decision all before even landing in the UK.

Megan, XChange’s China Market Lead who works mainly with Chinese applicants based in Chine and in the UK. She says “There’s still a high demand for property viewings, however, we switched in 70% of cases to virtual viewings, by video call and WeChat. Most of the applicants don’t have a problem viewing a property this way and are comfortable making their decision just based on that. In terms of how many people might actually arrive in the UK later in the year, I see a potential for a spike in the number of international students moving to the UK.” Megan adds: “Some universities lowered their required grades for Chinese applicants, so if the situation with coronavirus gets better soon, we might see an even higher number of incoming students later on”

We also spoke to Credo, a leading Chinese relocation agent and asked their views on the outlook of the real estate market. 

“Although we were indeed concerned about Covid-19’s impact on Chinese students and young professional going abroad, once April to May rolled around, it gave us lots of confidence that the demand is still there and even stronger – as for them it’s about international education and a long-term life goal instead of this temporary lockdown situation.

“With positive feedback from our local channels that the number of Chinese who applied for, or have received offers from UK universities has exceeded the same time over the last few years, we believe the renting demand will start to rally later this summer. If the market is so active this year during pandemic time, we could not be more optimistic about the demand from China in the future.”

With the ongoing restrictions on the market, XChange is opening its doors to bigger agencies to support the market during this time. By providing the means to easily connect with the Asian market, there is room for the business to be done. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »
using whatsapp on a cellphone

6 WhatsApp hacks every agent should be using now!

Xchange by houzen

Gone are the days where email is the only way to get in touch with your applicants. Infact, more and more of our agent partners are using WhatsApp almost daily to keep in touch with their applicants. With many even closing deals directly through the app itself. With 80% saying that they used WhatsApp at some point in the customer journey.

We reached out to our partner agents and asked to share their whatsapp hacks with us – here is what they said.

Simply download WhatsApp for Business (on your phone or desktop) and begin! 

1) Weed out the time wasters

  • Use WhatsApp for Business as a way to qualify incoming applicants to the most suitable negotiators
  • This also offers the company a chance to make sure the inquiry is directed to your most suitable negotiator. Customers can send a message and go about their day while waiting for a response, the inquiry can be properly assigned without the customer being redirected to a variety of different extensions or waiting impatiently on hold. It’s a win-win. 

2) Speed – faster replies make for happier customers

  • When customers use messaging apps personally, we’re writing and receiving answers all day, every day. When they communicate with a company on this channel, especially about a problem, they’re naturally expecting a fast response.
  • Using WhatsApp for business automated responses ensures that an applicant enquiry is answered within 24 hour 

3) Keep it all connected

  • Make sure you connect your WhatsApp Api to Hubspot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive. 
  • This ensures that you’re able to continue nurturing the lead throughout their customer journey. 

4) Be friendly and creative

  • Be casual. 95% of companies use a casual tone with or without emojis. This makes you more approachable. Agencies can win trust by putting formality to the side and engaging with your customers in a more authentic way.
  • All types of media can be used. This is a really good way to share images and videos of the properties that your applicant is inquiring about. 

5) Your virtual notebook

  •  Use WhatsApp as your own personal notebook. Simply create a group with yourself and someone else, remove them, and voila, you have your own private group. You have your own channel for whatever text or images you need to have available ad hoc. You can then easily access these things to share with your customers directly. 

6) Automate it

  • 80% of inquiries are repeated. Setting up a WhatsApp chatbot would make it easier to deal with these. If the case becomes too complex an agent can easily take over.
  • Virtual Customer Assistants (or Chatbots) can help, saving employee time and company resource
    • Here’s a few you can check out
    • AgentBot – Its multiple AI technologies allow for unstructured interactions and can interpret informal language, errors, regionalisms, emojis and voice messages for natural communication.
    •  Botscrew – designing your conversation flow is text-based, but equally intuitive and easy to use.

So there you have it folks! It’s that easy. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Twitter


Instagram

Read More »

The growth of PRS in London has altered tenant demographics. Who’s moving in? and why?

Xchange by houzen

Times when the PRS tenants were picking rental merely as a way to wait until they’re ready to take a mortgage are long gone. The renting lifestyle has become a conscious choice for many – and these people have specific wants and needs. If your property fulfils them, you might get yourself a fantastic, well-paid tenant for many years, not just for your usual 12 months.

Demand for the private rented sector: 
The proportion of households in the PRS sector is said to rise to 22% by 2023. Previously, young professionals (25 – 34) made up the largest proportion of renters, this has now been taken over (though marginally) by 35-49 years old. This age group is expected to show the biggest growth in this sector over the upcoming years as obtaining a mortgage is becoming harder and harder. Home buying still remains a hurdle for many individuals.  This correlates with the rise in the professional-managed PRS units. Currently, there are around 30,000 units already completed with a supply pipeline of around 110,092 under construction or in planning. With buy-to-let landlords leaving the market and fewer mortgages being taken out, this is necessary to meet the increasing demand for rental apartments.  Different kinds of renters:  The key to closing more deals is to better understand who you’re selling to. “When you work in agencies, you see every day how important the agents are, that people still want to deal with people and that it’s people who make things happen,” says Jaimie Beers, Managing Director of Madley Property Services in London. More and more individuals living in the UK are living in a rental property and this is expected to continue increasing for the next 3 years. It is important to understand what kind of tenants you’re working with to better understand how to cater to their needs. According to a survey, the biggest proportion of tenants in the private rental sector at the moment are aged between 35 – 49. With homeownership becoming more and more difficult this age group is likely to grow. This age group is closely followed by young professionals aged between 25 – 34.  The survey has found these different tenant groups in these age groups:  

 In London, Sharers makeup 27% of the rental market, followed closely by the nesters at 23%. With over 55% of the applicants surveyed stating that they are renting because they do not have the deposit for a mortgage.  So what are these renters looking for and how can you target them?  Tenants want: 

  1. Affordable housing 
  2. Homes that are within 5 miles of their current residence 
  3. Homes that are within a 30-40 minute commute from work 

 Targeting these tenants requires the following: 

  • Finding properties that match their requirements (location and price-wise)
  • Internal amenities are very important for this age group
  • Being close to transport links is also important 

 Key Driver for Remaining in Rented Property 

  • Affordability
  • Lack of mortgage deposits

 Affordability is the biggest deciding factor A survey was conducted and tenants were asked what was ONE of the most important factors when choosing a property. 

  • 61% stated that the rent is within their budget 
    • This is why it’s important to understand your applicant’s affordability range and ensure that you don’t show them properties that are over their budget. 
    • Next, is finding properties that fit the applicant’s requirements within that budget – XChange has a solution for that. 
  • 23% stated that the location of the property was the most important
    • Living close to transport links and work is also important for individual renters.
  • 10% stated the size of the property was the most important. 

 Other factors when choosing a location to live in?   So how can you use this: One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your applicants is to simply listen to them, by listening to them you’ll understand how they work and be better suited to find them a property that they will close on. Remember, it’s all about building a strong relationship with the applicant. Keeping this in mind, XChange has a solution to help you make this process more efficient.  At XChange our tech solution recommends properties for your applicants that match their requirements.  Our applicant matching solution works to find you more properties for applicants that are sitting in your CRM, or vice versa. By inputting your applicant’s requirements we can match them to properties listed on XChange. We’ve created a centralised platform where you can do all of this in one go.  We partner with Independent Agents and growing agencies because we believe that compared to the bigger corporations, you have the ability to close deals faster and provide the leads with better customer service than premium corporate agencies can provide. Want to get started and see if your Agency qualifies, contact us through the form below and we’ll give you a call.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Posts

Find us in London

27 Finsbury Circus

London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

Xchange by houzen

Facebook


Instagram


Linkedin

Read More »

Sales Leader (estate agency/developers)

Houzen is building a global stock exchange for residential real estate. The company values strong leadership, however the real differentiator would be someone who can roll up their sleeves and get stuff done. Think of the role as a 90:10 split between execution: strategy, or strategising in evening, and implementing during the day! We’re ideally looking for someone with strong SME sales background. The role:

  • direct responsibilities would be to lead a specific area of London and a small team (2-3 people)
  • you would be seen as a future leader from day one.
  • main tasks: leading and influencing property agents, getting them to sign up on our platform, view properties available and book viewings, then making sure the users are actually performing later on
  • hands-on: phone calls and in-person meetings would ideally take most of your time
  • whenever you’re not with a customer or in contact with customer, you’re probably wasting your time

About you:

  • 2-4 years of sales experience
  • some managerial experience
  • familiar with SME sales market
  • generalist mindset, you should have a flexible mind as your role is expected to keep strengthening as the company expects unprecedented growth over next 12-24 months.
  • You must have in the past led teams or situations as a person, professional or a sports person
  • Undying ‘‘won’t give up at any cost’’ attitude and has an ‘‘eternally optimist’’’ view on life
  • Respects the ‘‘Customer is King’’ philosophy
  • Loves learning new concepts and solving problems, and won’t leave the drawing (and more importantly execution ground) board till the problem is solved
  • Is excited about rewriting the rules of a $220tn asset class
  • Wants to potentially build a business themselves in future.  

Our culture:

  • Everyone is expected to go to any length to understand the customer inside out and genuinely work towards finding solutions for their needs, and then go the extra mile each time to delight them.
  • Every team member is very inclusive and collaborative (and a bit unreasonably crazy!).
  • Houzen strongly believes that only strong and determined teams build strong businesses, and hence each new team member should be aligned to our philosophy and work ethic.

Offer:

30-48K GBP (based on experience) + profit share (linked to revenue generation). In year 1 itself, opportunity to take home 60k+ or more (base + profit share)

Apply below:

<script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//js.hsforms.net/forms/shell.js"></script>
<script>
  hbspt.forms.create({
	portalId: "4109850",
	formId: "bc0abf60-ffd8-4adc-938c-a2cacb3ea4d3"
});
</script>

Data driven DDs in Build to Rent – why real estate investors “need” them?

In 2016, one of the largest American Private Equity buyout funds was looking to fund a large Multi Family / Build to Rent Scheme in the Hillingdon borough of London. The investment sounded quite attractive on paper as it included a juicy IRR% delivery roadmap led by a renowned London based entrepreneur and a solid team. Being new to the sector, the fund started looking around for data on rentals, some benchmarks or comps data to ensure they can write the $200m+ cheque. They spoke to some of the largest estate agencies who seemed to not be geared to be collecting any kind of data. Next, they spoke to the portals and software companies who provided some data – however these datasets were either too generic or not actionable and needed further data stitching, analysis and then presentation in a way that was useful to the investment committee. They then also spoke to some of the referencing companies, who either couldn’t share any data due to protection laws, or their data was again quite high level.

An idea spark over a drink

Incidentally, over a drink one of the directors at the fund spoke to his friend Saurabh, a senior Private Equity executive who had been building a data driven real estate transactions business called “Houzen”, alongside his day job. Through his day job, Saurabh had recently advised a large PE fund on a potential $2b+ investment opportunity into a Western European real estate agency leader, and was fresh off a due diligence into the sector. Saurabh offered to help his friend at the fund, collected some bottom-up data on the local market and presented back to the fund’s director and their Investment Committee – eventually they did not invest.

Moving data from paper to fully optimised online tools

“Due Diligence in real estate has long been a ‘finger in the air’ assumption on another assumption exercise. Due to lack of data aggregation, the residential real estate industry has found comfort with several limitations in the investment cycle” Saxena says. Firstly, the industry actors who are typically custodians of the customer and asset data have not collected the data digitally and at best, have stored it in paper files for decades. Secondly, the industry is so fragmented that even if actors did collect the data, it would need to be stitched together to make investment decisions. Thirdly, all the data that exists today is typically around assets, and very rarely on tenants needs, requirements and willingness to pay. This essentially means that the supply side data is fragmented, incomplete and not voluminous and the demand side i.e. customer side data doesn’t exist. Due to these systemic issues, the entire industry has been making decisions based on assumptions.

The time to change is now

However, the LP needs are changing now. The UK BTR opportunity is real and well established in the minds and IC’s of LPs, however they demand justification. LPs are custodians of public or tax payers money hence they are transparency oriented to reduce their own decision making risk. Several operators today complain that fundraising with LPs is not easy and they are not loosening their purse strings as much as the BTR hype seems to be. The reason is obvious – would we invest even $100 of our hard earned money on promises and not proof?

2019: a true test

Saurabh went on to quit his day job, and built houzen as the fastest leasing engine for the BTR sector. Today, houzen works with 7 of the top 10 BTR operators and investors and includes Invesco, Kennedy Wilson, Greystar, Grainger, Wellcome Trust, A2Dominion et al as it’s clients, and is based out of Singapore and India, and soon China. Interestingly, Saurabh’s entire pre-MBA experience was in the field of advanced statistics which in today’s speak, is called AI. That experience came in quite handy when the backend AI engine of houzen was built. From day one, all the data which came into their platform was not just collected, but the algorithms started learning and started making sense of the assets and tenant matching equations. In 2019, houzen was requested by a number of private equity funds, state owned companies, large BTR lenders and operators to share their data in order to make go/no-go investment decisions on whether they should buy an asset or not, if a certain borough or location is the right one to invest, develop or operate in based on their strategic KPIs. In addition, they would regularly ask houzen to help underwrite rents and their asset management strategy.

Smart DD reports – now available

Houzen has now launched a new service called “Smart DD”, which helps in connecting the dots between assets and potential tenants, potential revenue and operational cost flows. Further it delivers high quality consulting style reports on leasing velocity, asset management strategy, rent appraisals, buy make or partner decisions, IRR and revenue enhancement strategy and execution, asset turnarounds, and BTR operating model strategies.

The team at houzen is obsessed with the topics Build To Rent sector participants are continuing to solve for, and believes that through an intelligent data and tech infrastructure coupled with a finance and execution mindset will help make the industry more intelligent and investment decisions more predictable.

Dynamic pricing – Is UK Resi ready for it?

Research by the economists Marie Connolly of the University of Quebec and Alan Krueger of Princeton based on a sample of major concerts in 2006 estimated that artists and promoters left about 5% of potential income (or around $200 million) on the table by underpricing tickets relative to the market rate. The UK real estate rentals market collects about £42 billion in rent (average UK rent £700 * 5m PRS households * 12 months). A 5% loss of rent due to underpricing equates to £2.1b annually. This is of course in addition to the loss generated by voids.

Could you be underselling your service, like Bruce Springsteen?

Dynamic pricing or flexible pricing based on the demand for a certain product or service is widely used in a wide range of sectors such as telecommunications, sports and theatre ticketing, airlines, retail, local trains, electronic marketplaces, and more recently in taxi app companies such as Uber. The concept is also explained through this Bruce Sprinsteen concert at a broadway theatre pricing tickets between $75 and $850. He ended up leaving a lot of money on the table as a lot of $75 tickets went to people who were willing to pay $1000+. “Effective dynamic pricing essentially needs to correlate directly to real time market willingness to pay” Saurabh Saxena, founder of houzen data labs says. “There are also price bucketing techniques to ensure consumer response doesn’t negatively spiral.

How it works in London

An example would be the TFL tube tickets. A zone 1 and 2 ticket is more expensive than the other zones but is a fixed fare, and peak tickets are more expensive than non peak, albeit fixed. Due to the tap in/tap out data that TfL collects, it’s quite easy to have an even more elastic price discrimination strategy which prices tickets up and down based on daily traffic and which could potentially incentivise the re-routing of some of the passenger traffic to buses or encourage walking for short distances. However, there is the possibility of a consumer backlash and TfL being perceived as a capitalist entity. Also, by comparison most other city transit systems such as the ones in Singapore, New York, Madrid, Paris all have a fixed price strategy across the city and without any peak / non peak discrimination”.

2 issues with the residential pricing strategies nowadays

Now coming to the residential real estate market in the UK or other big and high demand cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt, prices are typically set based on comparables in the market. Landlords, operators and developers would typically set prices at the point of having the business plan approved by investors and create a bit of a buffer of 10-20% on account of micro and macro trends over the next 5 to 10 years asset hold period. Then landlords or operators would stick to their rental demand and create a time tolerance for themselves and wait till they receive the right offer. There are two issues with this (i) if they wait, they lose 2% rental income each week, (ii) if they discounted the rent, what would the discount be based on?. Additionally, in a good market are operators charging the right rental, or based on market demand of their amenities, build quality, community et al could they charge an additional 2% to 5%. Here lies the answer to delivering the extra 200 basis points which investors are always looking for. Here also is the answer to WOW your investors, differentiate from your competitors, and command a higher asset management fee.

A response to lost opportunity – houzen data labs

In real estate, customers interestingly don’t repeat purchases within a year for e.g. if we compare with taxis, trains, tube, retail etc which we consume several times a month. What this allows for is a perfect opportunity for a little bit of flexible pricing based on the demand in the market at the time of placing a rental or sales offer.

houzen data labs was recently launched as a response to this lost revenue / IRR opportunity. It analyses all the current stock in a certain neighbourhood and its adjacent postcodes, and then compares it with other units with similar units to place it on a similarity index, and then compares this index with proprietary “closed rents” data and tenant demographic data to come up with an accurate “willingness to pay”. This data point is typically the proposed dynamic rent for that week. This data will again change the following week, as the stock in the market and the demand data will most likely change. Through labs, Asset Managers and Investment team can do at the click of a button, what they otherwise used to do through hours and sometimes days of research, data stitching, assumption building, and analysing (incomplete and inaccurate) data. Houzen strongly believes that the housing market not just in the UK but also across the world is ready for dynamic pricing as most other industries have educated the customers of also the benefits. With this kind of pricing, the industry would collectively become more predictive and will save a lot more money for all parties viz the operator as well as the customer. At that point, the operators could decide if they wanted to pass on the monetary benefits back to the consumer or keep it for themselves to service shareholder expectations.